Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could run for office again next year, his party has indicated.

Berlusconi said he has been "besieged by requests" to stand for election, while Angelino Alfano, the Secretary of Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PDL) party told Italian media this week that the 76-year old will attempt to return to power.

berlusconi

Berlusconi may return to power

The former prime minister said in a statement: "Many ask me to return, the country is on the brink of the abyss… I am besieged by petitions from my party to come back," Bloomberg reported.

"The situation today is much more serious than a year ago when I left the government. I cannot allow this and this will determine my choices in the coming days.

"The economy is on its last legs. I cannot allow my country precipitate a downward spiral without end,” he concluded.

The former three-term prime minister of Italy resigned from office in 2011 over tax evasion charges. He was sentenced to four years in jail and barred from holding political office for three years.

However Berlusconi is likely to never actually see the inside of a jail as under Italian law no one older than 70 can be sent to prison.

It is unclear what effect the ban would have on his bid to return to power.

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The sign reads 'Silvio Italy believes in you'

Separately on Thursday, PDL walked out of the chamber ahead of two votes on economic measures, showing their disdain for Prime Minister Monti's austerity measures.

Though both votes were passed the PDL has the largest presence in parliament and their support is important to Monti's mandate. It is the first time PDL has not supported Monti's policies in the house.

Berlusconi's future return to the helm is further indicted by the PDL's decision to cancel its leadership primary ahead of the general election in March 2013.

Speculation continues to swirl in Italian media over whether Berlusconi will definitely stand again. Il Corriere report that with the possibility of PDL, the largest party in parliament, withdrawing support for Monti, "everything is still up in the air."

Minister La Russa is reported to have said: "Berlusconi has his own idea. What remains to be seen is whether he puts it into action".

An editorial in Gazzetta Del Sud quotes the "leadership vacuum" at the top of the PDL party making Berlusconi's return more likely. However Economic Development Minister Corrado Passera said Berlusconi would make it look as if Italy had "gone back" reported the BBC.

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  • Form An Orderly Queue

    On his sexual appetite: "Last night I had a queue outside the door of the bedroom. There were 11 ... I only did eight because I could not do it anymore".

  • Far To Old For This

    On allegations that he entertained prostitutes at his villa: "Even though I am a little mischievous ... 33 girls in two months seems like too much even for a 30-year-old."

  • The 'At Least I'm Not Gay' Defence

    On allegations of philandering: "As always, I work without interruption and if occasionally I happen to look a beautiful girl in the face, it's better to like beautiful girls than to be gay".

  • Strengthening US-Italian Relations

    On President Obama: "I have to bring you some greetings, greetings from a man, what is his name - just a minute it was someone with a tan - Barack Obama," he said.

  • Italian-German Relations

    To German MEP Martin Schulz: "I know that in Italy there is a man producing a film on Nazi concentration camps - I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo - you would be perfect." A Kapo was a prisoner who worked alongside the Nazis in the concentration camps. Relations between Rome and Berlin would have been further strained after it was reported he referred to chancellor Angela Merkel an "un*****ble lard-arse".

  • And On Relations With His Own People

    Recorded in a tapped telephone call: "They can tap my telephone calls. I don't give a f*** ... I'm getting out to mind my own f***ing business, from somewhere else, and so I'm leaving this sh**ty country, of which I'm sickened."

  • Cheer Up!

    On the plight of victims of the Abruzzo earthquake: "Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping."

  • On Rape

    Why deploying the army would not stop rape: "We would need as many soldiers as there are beautiful girls in Italy - which we will never manage."

  • On His Many Trials

    "In absolute terms, I am the most legally persecuted man of all times, in the whole history of mankind, worldwide."

  • What Gaffes?

    "They're not gaffes. I've made no gaffes."